It wasn't New York, it wasn't Christmas eve, and it didn't end in the drunk tank. But it was as carefree as a "Fairytale of New York."
You know the Pogues song. With those charming lyrics ["you're a bum, you're a punk/you're an old slut on junk"], it's the song that'll run laps around my head during this season. It flittered through my head a few weeks ago, just as it got cold, then vanished as final exams hit and cabin fever settled in. But after the corporate tax exam that was akin to Chernobyl, I was free to live like a normal person. To sleep in when I didn't have class, to ride my rollers endlessly, and even to do nothing at all.
I almost freaked out. I have no idea how to do nothing. It scares me.
But I had a whole day to myself, before flying off back home to Tokyo for two weeks - where, admittedly, posts might again be sparse as I intend to perfect this whole "doing nothing" thing - and with exams and school done for the semester, I no longer had the "sorry, I'm busy" excuse. To be honest, I probably would have stayed in my apartment, alternating between my bed and my rollers if it hadn't been for Mike and an email telling me about the Downtown Crossing Holiday Market. With clear skies and not-so-unforgiving temperatures, it was worth getting out of my apartment for.
Okay, so I didn't ride down there; Mike didn't bring his bike and we figured having him ride on my bars probably wasn't a good idea. The T actually proved to be relatively painless and crazy-people-free, and warm - something of a novelty when you ride around in Boston winters. Back out on Park Street, anywhere that wasn't soaked in sunlight was bordering on freezing, but the Holiday Market was enclosed in a tent. We slipped inside to find jewelry, baked goods, and even a small farmer's market section. And then we stumbled on perhaps one of the coolest things ever: dessert hummus.
Coming in different flavors like pumpkin pie, toasted almond, chocolate mousse, maple walnut, caramel apple, and peanut butter, it's made with chickpeas but flavored and sweetened, and completely vegan. We tested a few flavors, then both shelled out for a container of the stuff [Mike got the almond, I wavered between pumpkin pie and peanut butter, then ended up with the latter]. And to fuel our trek through town to Newbury Street and the Pru, Mike grabbed a Berliner/beignet covered in cinnamon-y sugar from Swiss Bakers.
Then we walked. Yes, walked. Through the Public Garden [across the frozen pond], down Newbury and Boylston. It could have been done faster by bike, I know, and it's insanity that I'll choose to spend the last day I'll be within 10 feet of a bicycle [for the next two weeks] on my feet and not the pedals. There might be something to be said for slowing down though, for trying to spend the day like a normal person might. To stop striving - if it can really be called that - to achieve some elusive cycling goal.
But like the oxymoron that is the recovery ride, I couldn't stay away. Symptoms of bike withdrawal emerged here and there as I pointed at displays and suggested ideas ["Hey, [NYC] Velo should do that..."], between stories of what the guys were up to while I was chained to a desk. I was even already planning my next trip to see my crew after I get back from Tokyo.
Plans which didn't involve taking the bike along; I will be loaded down with presents, after all. But, a long, narrow box came my way, wrapped adorably, and from the kind of present giver you almost don't want presents from because they pick such good ones and then you're like oh shit, now what do I buy them? I peeked inside, my eye bulged, and then I tried to be genuinely exasperated even though it's something I honestly wanted. It's made for women, it's wider than most, and yeah, it's going to look sick on the track bike.
So it wasn't Christmas eve. And it wasn't New York. But I still got a feeling...this year's for me and [my friends, bikes, all the awesome people who read this, and, of course,] you.